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Androvett Blog

by Robert Tharp at 12:00:00 am

With the Gulf Oil spill trial set to start with a day of opening statements in New Orleans Monday, the Houston office of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP , which represents a key player in the trial,  launched a  Crisis Management and Complex Litigation website to provide clients and potential clients with information on how to handle important legal problems while they continue with ongoing business.

The new website, sutherlandcrisismanagement.com, includes information on Sutherland’s crisis management team, its crisis and litigation strengths, the firm’s experience in complex crisis situations, and news articles of interest on the ‘Crisis Notes’ page.

Rachel Giesber Clingman, a lead attorney in spill trial and co-partner-in-charge of the Sutherland Houston office, says:  “Our crisis team was chosen from different legal specialties among Sutherland’s offices across the country and is able to immediately address internal and external complex crisis situations for our clients.”

The Houston office is growing, see this Houston Chronicle story, and is nationally recognized in energy litigation and crisis management, energy trading and derivative contracts, and offshore marine litigation.

Sutherland’s Crisis Management and Complex Litigation Team has advised and defended clients simultaneously on multiple fronts, including parallel civil litigation and criminal investigations, multidistrict proceedings, putative class actions, congressional investigations and hearings, regulatory investigations, internal investigations, shareholder direct and derivative claims, and corporate disclosure issues.

Houston partner Steven L. Roberts, a member of the crisis management team, says Sutherland’s extensive experience in crisis situations allows the firm to immediately mobilize a targeted response for clients.

Sutherland’s crisis experience includes advising clients from a variety of industries, including an international drilling contractor in all litigation relating to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill; a privately held manufacturing company facing an antitrust problem; a NYSE-listed investment company attacked by a short-selling hedge fund; and a multinational industrial giant with revenue irregularities that were flagged on the eve of a year-end earnings release.

 

by Dave Moore at 12:00:00 am

Legal battles sometimes bring about unusual alliances.

Such is the case of Isabel Molina, who suffered severe burns over her face and body when the food trailer in which she worked caught fire in 2002 in Dallas. Molina sued the operator of the trailer, Juan Miguel “Mike” Bonilla, in 2003 and eventually won a $1.8 million jury verdict. 

 

Appeals to the Dallas Court of Appeals and later to the Fifth Circuit followed, and in the process, Bonilla joined Molina in a battle to force Bonilla’s insurance company to cover the District Court's judgment. The insurance provider offered Molina a low six-figure settlement during the 10-year legal battle.

 

On Feb. 2 – nearly 10 years after the fire, and after all appeals were exhausted – a federal judge signed a final order requiring the insurance carrier to finally pay the amount of the jury verdict, plus $700,000 in interest.

 

The Dallas Morning News writes that her attorneys, Mark Sudderth and Chuck Noteboom, of Noteboom: The Law Firm

 

 described their client as courageous and strong in her religious faith throughout the ordeal. They hope the result would help her and her children “salvage their lives and get their lives on track.”

 

“It was a sad deal,” Sudderth said. “She had horrific injuries, and she never gave up, and in the end, justice was served.”

 

The case of Molina shows that while the wheels of justice can turn slowly, with patience, perseverance and faith, the outcome can be worthwhile. 

by Dave Moore at 12:42:00 pm

The Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) spans nearly 2,700 pages. So there should be no surprise that there are lots of questions about what the new law could mean for U.S. citizens who are struggling to obtain health care coverage.

 

Perhaps the biggest question of all is whether the law is even legal—and that question has been posed to the United States Supreme Court.  Appellate lawyer and constitutional law expert Carl Cecere of the law firm Hankinson LLP recently gave a preview of the case in an interview with Jane McGarry of NBC5.  According to Cecere, “The key question is … has the government gone beyond the powers vested in it by the Constitution” in enacting the law?

 

Cecere, who is an appellate lawyer with substantial experience in constitutional law, says that he believes that the high court will uphold the law based upon the opinions of the justices in earlier cases.

 

 Adds Cecere, the Act’s requirement that individuals insure themselves isn’t exactly unique in comparison to other obligations the government imposes upon us, like jury service or even the draft.   And he notes that even the Founders thought that the federal government could force individuals to purchase products.  The Militia Act of 1792, passed by many of the same members of Congress that drafted the Constitution in 1871, required that men between the ages of 18 and 44 purchase a musket and ammunition.

 

 Congress didn’t stop at muskets and ammo with the Militia Act:

 

 “…Every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball; or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch, and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder; and shall appear so armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise or into service, except, that when called out on company days to exercise only, he may appear without a knapsack.

 

Ironically, a quarter pound of gunpowder is enough to cause a substantial health insurance claim if not handled properly.